Who Will Be Our Next D.A.?


The local Republican mucky-mucks met with Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal last week, asking him not to run for reelection. Chuck refused their request, announcing publicly that he is going to run and he is going to win. The party is interviewing potential candidates to run against Chuck. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. today, so shortly after close of business we should know who will be running, with the party’s support, against Chuck in the Republican primary.

Several lawyers have been discussed as possible contenders: four judges (Vanessa Velasquez, Mike Fields, Brock Thomas, and Mike Anderson), a defender (Jim Leitner), and a retired judge (Pat Lykos). A judge would, as I understand it, have to resign her bench to run for D.A., so I don’t think it’s likely that Velasquez, Fields, Thomas, or Anderson will run. Leitner and Lykos both ran against Chuck in the Republican primary in 2000; Lykos forced a runoff, which she lost. (Charles Kuffner thinks Lykos is the most likely challenger; I concur.)

As a defender, I want my adversaries in disarray, their morale shattered. At this point, it appears that a successful challenger (whether a Republican or Democrat C.O. Bradford) would shake things up in the short run: any regime change in the DA’s office (Chuck was Johnny Holmes’s chosen successor) will lead to a shakeup, with lots of ADAs promoted, demoted, resigning or being fired. But I know a derailment when I see one coming and, over the long term, I don’t see any of the named contenders being as effective at diminishing morale among, as well as public confidence in, my adversaries as Chuck in coming years.

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